What should go on a master chain? (2024)

What should go on a master chain?

This includes EQs, compressors, limiters, stereo imagers, and mid/side processors, which we will break down in detail throughout the article. Mastering engineers typically have their own preferred mastering chain order and set of tools.

What does a mastering chain consist of?

This includes EQs, compressors, limiters, stereo imagers, and mid/side processors, which we will break down in detail throughout the article. Mastering engineers typically have their own preferred mastering chain order and set of tools.

What is the best order of plugins for mastering?

The order of your mastering chain can affect how each tool or plugin interacts with the others and with the audio signal. There is no definitive rule for how to order your mastering chain, but a common approach is to start with an EQ, followed by a compressor, then any effects plugins, and finally a limiter and meter.

Where do you put the limiter in a mastering chain?

The mastering limiter should be the last effect on your processing chain. So the rest of your mastering chain should ideally be set beforehand, and the song should already be thoroughly mixed. Going back and completely changing your mix or tweaking your master chain will affect how your final limiter sounds.

Should I master EQ or compression first?

There is a very good reason for the classic order of: equalizer first, compressor second. When you have a signal with spectral flaws such as strong resonances, you're well advised to first clean it up. That's where linear audio processing in regards to equalization comes into play.

Should you mix into a mastering chain?

It's generally accepted as good practise to keep mixing and mastering as two separate stages in production process. If you know what you're doing, though, there's no practical reason why you shouldn't run your mastering chain on the two-bus while mixing, even if only for previewing purposes.

What should my mix be before mastering?

How much headroom should a mix have for a mastering engineer to work his magic? Some suggest -6 dBFS, some -3 dBFS. And although both answers are correct, a more correct answer is: Just don't allow peak levels to reach 0 dBFS on your DAW's master bus or in your files. It's that simple.

What is the ideal dB before mastering?

Most mastering engineers recommend having the loudest part of a mix at –5 dB from absolute '0' dBFS. This means you should have the loudest section of the mix 5 dB lower before the peak level of '0'. It is recommended to not go over '0' dBFS on the master fader or individual tracks in the mix.

Should saturation go before or after reverb?

Placing a saturation plug‑in before time‑based effects like reverb can often make integrating the effect into the mix rather easier.

What order should audio effects be in?

A common convention for how to order and effects chain is:
  1. Dynamics: Compressors, gates, and certain modulation/gain effects like wah.
  2. Gain: Distortion, overdrive, fuzz.
  3. Modulation: Phasers, chorus, flanger.
  4. Time: Reverb and delay.
Sep 8, 2021

Where does compression go in vocal chain?

Compression and EQ

After pitch correction, the next modules I'll typically add to my vocal chain are an equalizer, followed by a compressor. There's much debate on which should come first, but over my years of crafting vocal processing chains, I've found this order yields the best results for vocal mixing.

How can I make my mastering louder?

How to Make a LOUD Master
  1. Use 2 Limiters.
  2. Use a Shorter Release Time for All Compression.
  3. Sandwich an Expander Between 2 Limiters.
  4. Always Use Upward Maximization or Low-Level Compression.
  5. Compress Your Mids and Use Automatic Make-Up Gain.
  6. Use a Dynamic Limiter.
  7. Don't be Afraid to Over-Process.

Should you mix with a limiter on the master?

The only time you really want to bring in a limiter on your mixes is at the end, when the mix is done. And really this is only for bouncing down a mix reference for you or the client, allowing your mixes to be as loud as commercial releases so you can really compare how they sound out in the real world.

Should I use two limiters in mastering?

The first one will tame any rough transients popping out in the mix. Often, it will tame instruments like drums or synths. The second limiter, not having to deal with many rough transients, will give you more overall volume.

Should EQ go first or last in chain?

However, if your goal is a less prominent EQ, just some tone shaping into the dynamics control, add EQ first. In some cases, applying compression can also alter the tone of a signal — the low end may come up, the high end may be reduced, and so on. In this case, corrective EQ should be applied after the compression.

What is the best compression for mastering?

If you end up using a compressor on the master, always stick to low ratios (from 1.5:1 up to 3:1 - slight to hard compression) and low Threshold settings. Always aim at keeping the gain reduction to not more than 3-5dB. I like to find the Threshold and Ratio first.

Should fuzz go before or after EQ?

Position the EQ pedal after the fuzz pedal in the signal chain.

Can mastering ruin a mix?

Mastering is the final and arguably most critical stage of music production. It's also one of the most misunderstood. Great mastering can take your mix to a whole new level with brighter highs, deeper lows, and punchier dynamics. But bad mastering can ruin a great song.

How do you get clean masters?

How to Make Clean Masters
  1. Turn off All Noise Generators. ...
  2. Very Subtly Gate. ...
  3. Cut the Side Lows. ...
  4. Cut Below 20Hz. ...
  5. Use Low-Latency Linear Phase Processing. ...
  6. Stick to Tape Emulated Saturation. ...
  7. Use 30IPS Tape Emulation. ...
  8. Avoid Unnecessary Dithering.

Should I compress my mix before mastering?

Handing an overly compressed mix off to your mastering engineer leaves less room for the mastering processing. This often includes some type of additional compression as well as limiting, so squashing the dynamics out of every track should be avoided before mastering.

How many dB should a mastered song be?

The average loudness of master records for the music industry in 2022 is around -8 RMS, about -10 LUFS, with the output ceiling around -0,3 dB. However, the loudness targets can vary for different genres.

How do you mix and master perfectly?

Step-By-Step Mixing and Mastering Workflow
  1. Import and Organize Your Audio Tracks. ...
  2. Balance the Volumes of Each Sound Against an “Anchor” Sound. ...
  3. Use Panning Controls to Widen the Sound Stage of the Mix. ...
  4. Use Equalizers to Help All the Sounds Fit Well Together. ...
  5. Use Compressors to Control the Dynamic Range of Sounds.

What RMS should my mix be before mastering?

With a loud track that has the purpose of carrying a bold and intense sound, they should have an RMS level of roughly -7dBFS to -12dBFS. Tracks that don't have that much dynamic energy or quieter parts, would be better suited with an RMS level of -16dBFS to -18 dBFS.

Should you master to 0 dB?

Never hit the 0 dBFS mark -there is plenty of opportunities for reaching that level when you initiate the mastering phase (if that is your goal). To play it safe, simply lower the master fader until you have at least 3 dB headroom towards 0 dBFS.

Should master be at 0 dB?

When mastering audio, the target peak level can vary depending on the specific requirements of the project and the preferences of the mastering engineer. However, a common target for peak levels during mastering is around -0.3 dB to -0.1 dB to allow for headroom and avoid clipping.

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